Is there asbestos in your workplace, and should you be worried about it? Here we look at the fact and fiction of workplace asbestos.
Fact or fiction? All dangerous forms of asbestos have already been removed
Fiction. It is true that all forms of asbestos were banned from use in 1999 and therefore, no property build after the ban will contain asbestos. However, asbestos was commonly used prior to the ban, which means that asbestos can still be found in potentially any building built before 1999. It is not a part of the law to ensure that asbestos is removed, so in the large majority of cases, if asbestos was originally used in the building, it will remain there.
Fact or fiction? If there is asbestos in my workplace I am immediately at risk
Fiction. Asbestos can be present in many different workplaces such as offices, warehouses and more. As long as the asbestos is in good condition and is not likely to be moved or disturbed, then it is unlikely to be a risk to health. Asbestos is only dangerous when fibres are dislodged and get into the air which then can be breathed into the lungs.
Fact or fiction? It is the responsibility of the business to keep staff safe from asbestos
Fact. Businesses are required to have an asbestos plan in place to minimise the risk of exposure. If you are concerned about asbestos at work you should speak to your manager or supervisor, as it is a legal requirement for the company to have a plan.
Fact or fiction? Only some forms of asbestos are dangerous
Fiction. There has been some confusion over which forms of asbestos are dangerous, as many people are not even aware there are different types. Thankfully, however, the truth is simple: all forms of asbestos are dangerous and all are banned from use.
Fact or fiction? Asbestos related illnesses strike instantly
Fiction. If asbestos gets into your lungs it does not cause serious problems straight away. Typically it can take 20 years or more for asbestos-related symptoms to present, at which point it is too late to do anything about them. If you are concerned about asbestos in your workplace you need to act sooner rather than later.